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“Women” vol. 4 of Citizens of Jewish Kraków

03.07.2021 - 12:00 / Muzeum Etnograficzne w Krakowie, Ratusz, plac Wolnica 1

Before the Second World War, Jews accounted for over 30 per cent of the residents of Cracow. The Holocaust affected almost every one of them. Unfortunately today, walking the streets of Cracow, we can get the impression that the memory of the Jewish residents of the city is visible mostly in the omnipresent depictions of figurines or paintings of Jews with their inherent coin – strengthening the stereotypical and offensive image.

The aim of publishing the series of notebooks Residents of Jewish Cracow is a presentation – by necessity fragmentary and subjective – of the portraits of Polish Jews who lived and worked in Cracow. Those who directly contributed to the material, cultural and social development of the city, and as a result, of Poland, and those who simply lived here and called Cracow their city. In previous notebooks, I presented artists, politicians, military men, sportsmen, restaurateurs and even the first woman in our city to own a bike.

This fourth volume is entirely devoted to women, although there is also some room for men here – as supporting characters, in the background of the main stories evoked by the characters of women.

In the publications from the series Residents of Jewish Cracow I leave blank pages, hoping to encourage readers to study the fates of the characters presented in following volumes, discover those I omitted, and to take down their own notes. Working on this publication, I found myself in a situation when I understood I also should use the blank pages. Collecting materials for “Women”, I managed to understand better the role performed by Amalia Krieger (whose biography I included in the first volume), who donated her priceless collection to the city, and I learned what procedures accompanied this donation. I rediscovered the history of Edward Goldstein (described in volume two), told “live” in the fascinating memoirs of Alicja Halicka. I also learned that Róża Aleksandrowicz was one of the sponsors of Cricot 2 Theatre. Her portrait can be found in volume two.

If the readers want to learn and develop the discoveries I made so far, they have to follow the leads I managed to track down. I hope that reading the newest volume devoted to women will become an inspiring encouragement to undertake individual searches, to fill in the blank pages in this and in the previous notebooks, and to reach for the bibliography.

"Citizens of Jewish Kraków" Ewa Mańkowska

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